Problems at Triterras (TRIT)
Problems at Triterras (TRIT)
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Singapore-based Triterras (NASDAQ: TRIT — $1.10 billion) describes itself as a “custom-built, blockchain-enabled, end-to-end global trade and trade finance platform.” The company went public through a SPAC earlier this year and the company’s executives may have ties to numerous bankruptcies and stock promotions. In addition, the company may derive a large portion of its revenue directly or indirectly from related-party entities.
The Triterras private “blockchain-enabled” trade finance platform is called Kratos. The Triterras prospectus reveals it is highly reliant on a related-party called Rhodium Resources Pte. Ltd, a commodity trading firm controlled by Srinivas Koneru, the Triterras CEO and controlling shareholder. Triterras discloses:
“Our business has substantially depended on our relationship with Rhodium Resources Pte. Ltd… to initially deliver customers and drive traffic for our platform” (page 33)
“Substantially all of the users of our Kratos platform during the year ended February 29, 2020 were referred to the platform by Rhodium Resources Pte. Ltd…” (page 33)
“The launch of Kratos’ ecosystem was enabled by our relationship with Rhodium, whose existing physical commodity trading business initially provided immediate scale to the platform, of both Transaction Volume and users.” (page 118)
(Author’s Note: Earlier today Triterras put out a 6-K announcing that Rhodium Resources Pte. Ltd. received “a statutory demand for payment… pursuant to the Singapore Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act.” The company added that Rhodium is looking to “restructure its debts.”)
On Tuesday, Oppenheimer initiated coverage on Triterras with an “outperform” rating and a $23 target price. As part of Oppenheimer’s due diligence, the analyst reached out to ten potential Triterras clients (companies that would lend money through the platform). Only one of the ten companies, AlmaStone, was using Triterras.
However, according to a UK government registry, AlmaStone is also a lender to Rhodium Resources! The only Triterras client the sell-side could find is one doing business with a related-party.
Triterras’ ties to Rhodium Resources go well beyond generating clients. In Exhibit 10.10 of its registration statement, Triterras discloses an extremely involved relationship with Rhodium Resources USA, Inc (“RRUSA”):
“The full scope of services to be provided by RRUSA in connection with the business transactions and activities in [Triterras Fintech Pte. Ltd.] are as follows:
a. Providing human resource support services including staffing, recruitment, benefits and payroll.
b. Providing accounting and administrative support services including liaising with auditors, company secretary, tax agent, service providers and regulatory bodies.
c. Providing operations support services including contract execution and trade settlements (if required).
d. Providing treasury support services including negotiation of banking facilities and maintaining banking relationships.
e. Providing management and strategic leadership, expertise, guidance and direction towards achieving business growth.”
If you go to the Georgia Corporations Division website and search for “Rhodium Resources USA” you will find that Richard Maurer was the incorporator in 2014. Mr. Maurer was also CEO of Netfin Acquisition Corp, the SPAC that acquired Triterras.
Prior to its IPO, the SEC sent Triterras a letter asking the company to:
“Clarify the nature of the “previous business affiliations” between Mr. Maurer and Mr. Srinivas Koneru, the founder of Rhodium Resources Pte. Ltd. and the controlling shareholder of Triterras Fintech, and his affiliates. Include appropriate disclosure regarding related party transactions between these parties.”
In response, the company explained that the “Rhodium Resources USA” founded by Mr. Maurer was dormant and never used. Instead, a different entity also named “Rhodium Resources USA” was formed in Delaware and was supposedly not affiliated with Mr. Maurer. According to the company, the Delaware entity with the same name provided the staffing services.
Other peculiarities abound. According to one online registry the Triterras website “triterras.com” was registered by Mr. Maurer using his personal Gmail.
Separately, on August 22, 2019, after the Netfin SPAC approached Triterras, but before the SPAC deal was announced, Maurer and Koneru were both listed as organizers of Saarika Holdings, LLC. Saarika was never disclosed in any SEC filings and was later dissolved.
There are even more ties between the Netfin Acquisition Corp CEO Richard Maurer and Triterras CEO Srinivas Koneru.
On page 59 of the company’s prospectus, Triterras discloses that Longview Resources Group, a company founded by Mr. Maurer, accounted for 9.4% of Triterras revenue over the last six months.
According to the company’s prospectus, Mr. Koneru first met Mr. Maurer after Mr. Mauerer invested in Exxova, a tech company Mr. Koneru founded in 2005. Glassdoor reviews described the company as “a glorified Ponzi scheme,” “Bait and Switch Tactics,” and “smoke and mirrors.”
Triterras has a tough time explaining what it does. If you want to understand the company watch this 7-minute Nasdaq interview with Triterras President Tom Trowbridge and Triterras founder and CEO Srinivas Koneru (screenshot below). Mr. Trowbridge recently left the company after only seven months. He has worked for 10 different companies in the last 25 years.
In my opinion, the work experience of other Triterras executives deserves scrutiny from investors.
For example, look at James Groh, an Executive Vice President at Triterras.
In 2006, Mr. Groh was listed as a consultant for Winner Medical Group Inc. That company would go on to do a reverse split and was taken private at under $5/share.
In 2006, Mr. Groh was also listed as a "U.S. based Executive" for China Bak Battery Inc. (NASDAQ: CBAT). That company fell 99% from 2006 to 2019.
In 2008, Mr. Groh was listed as an early shareholder of China Nutrifruit Group Limited. That company went to zero.
In 2012, Mr. Groh was listed as chairman of Chile Mining Technologies Inc. That company went to zero and the SEC revoked its registration in 2018.
Mr. Groh was previously an "Executive Managing Director" at Halter Financial Securities from 2008 to 2012. In 2011, The SEC issued a cease and desist to prevent Halter from "causing violations of securities laws."
Marat Rosenberg, President and Director of the Netfin SPAC, also served as Senior Managing Director of Halter Financial Group between January 2002 and April 2018.
Mr. Rosenberg was the sole member of Rivergreen Capital Llc. A few of Rivergreen Capital’s holdings were Yuhe International (OTC: YUII), which went to zero, China Marine Food Group (OTC: CMFO), which fell 99%, and China Gengsheng Minerals (OTC: CHGS), which currently trades for less than half a penny.
Martin Jaskel serves on the board of directors of Triterras and served as Chairman of the Netfin Acquisition Corp SPAC. In 2015, Mr. Jaskel joined the board as audit committee chairman of N-Viro International Corporation (OTC: NVIC). The stock has fallen ~99% since he joined the board.
In sum, a large portion of Triterras revenue appears to come directly or indirectly through related-parties (Rhodium Resources Pte. Ltd and Longview Resources Group). A large portion of Triterras costs appears to come through related-parties (e.g., Rhodium Resources USA). And the CEO of Triterras and the CEO of the SPAC that took Triterras public have multiple business ties, some undisclosed (e.g., Saarika).
Analysts seem unaware of the problems raised in this article. In Oppenheimer’s overweight rating the analyst argued Triterras is “a Contender to Become the Amazon of Blockchain.” I have doubts.
Author’s Note: Earlier today Triterras put out a 6-K announcing that Rhodium Resources Pte. Ltd. received “a statutory demand for payment… pursuant to the Singapore Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act. The company added that Rhodium is looking to “restructure its debts.”
This article is not investment advice and represents the opinions of its sole author, Edwin Dorsey. You can reach the author by email at email@example.com. This article is for paid subscribers of The Bear Cave newsletter. If this article was forwarded to you please consider becoming a paid subscriber to receive articles like this twice every month. Learn more here.